Sales online grew 18% year-on-year in May as £5.3bn was spent on the web.

Sales were up 2% against April’s figures as £86 per person was spent online according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

Growth was driven by low-ticket products such as clothing and alcohol with big-ticket items lagging behind.

Online alcohol sales jumped 25% year-on-year in May and clothing soared 24% while home and garden items grew a modest 2%.

The strong performance of online is in contrast to figures released by the BRC last week which showed like-for-likes down 2.1% and total sales down 0.3% in May.

Capgemini head of retail consulting and technology Chris Webster said: “Whilst the high street suffers in the wake of the struggling economy consumers continue to migrate online.”

IMRG director of information Tina Spooner said: “We are seeing a pretty clear split between the sectors selling low-cost products and those selling high-value ones, with travel, electricals and home and garden lagging some way behind in terms of growth.

“So although overall growth is very positive, it seems perhaps consumers are wary about making those big-ticket purchases in the current economic climate.”

Multi-channel retailers continue to experience greater levels of growth than pureplay rivals, with the average multi-channel player growing 23% year-on-year in May compared to 9% in etailers.

Online only retailers, which includes catalogue sales, experienced a 2% decline in sales from April.